Fie on the Hilton Fee!

The trend continues. By that, I mean the trend toward more and more of those maddening fees that squeeze more and more out of the unsuspecting public. This time around, it’s the Hilton hotel chain. They’re testing the idea of imposing a $50 fee on cancelled reservations, no matter how far in advance you cancel.
Whoa! A bit punitive, wouldn’t you say? But wait! There’s more! Apparently, if fully implemented, the penalty would apply to any of the Hilton owned or Hilton run properties, including Double Tree, Hampton, Waldorf, Garden Inn, Homewood, and others.
I really have no problem with what has been the norm for a long time—if you cancel a reservation less than 24 hours before your scheduled date of arrival, the hotel will charge you for one night’s stay. I do think that’s reasonable. (By the way, it’s also the reason I think you can get by with lower limits on travel insurance. If you have to cancel your entire trip, you have time to cancel most of your hotel reservations.)
But—Good heavens!—what if you make hotel reservations in December for a trip you’ll be taking in September, then have to cancel in March, fully six months prior to the date of your reservation. Under this proposed policy, Hilton would whack you 50 bucks for each reservation you cancel.
My outrage was tempered a bit when I was told that the new cancellation fee would not apply to members of Hilton Honors, the chain’s loyalty program. (Yes, I’m a member.) And, according to the report I got, the Hilton people are “testing” this new policy on only a few of their properties, so the odds are you’re not going to encounter it for a while, if ever.
Unless, of course, other hotel chains think it’s just a dandy idea and implement the same or similar policies. If that happens, I’ll volunteer to lead the revolution!